The cat stared back.
She was the only brave one.
We could barely stand to look her in the eye.
We wondered if she knew these were her last hours alive.
The college girl held onto the cat and sobbed. As a small, squeaky voiced elementary school girl, she had wandered through the shelter cages and declared that the mottled brown mess with the white patch on her belly was the one. And now, 10 years later, she had rushed home from college to say goodbye.
Tomorrow the husband and I would take our fluffy Millie Willie Silly Billy Pumpkin Pie Kitty Cat to the vet. The sympathetic vet would take a needle and stick it into her. Our Millie would look us in the eye as the last of her spunk left this world. We would stand there with our box of Kleenex and would watch her die.
We would pay the vet to do this.
Because we felt it was the best thing to do.
Because we weren’t rich and couldn’t afford to pay for the treatment she deserved.
Because we didn’t want to see her suffer.
This is what we told ourselves.
We were miserable.
The college girl stared blankly at the children gathered around Santa. She had rushed back to school so she could volunteer at a Christmas party for the neediest children in her community. Two hours ago she was holding her sick cat. Now she wondered if the cat was even still alive.
She was miserable.
The little girl didn’t own a coat. Her mother said the girl’s thin sweatshirt didn’t keep her warm or dry when she waited for the bus. While the little girl sat on Santa’s lap, the college girl helped her mother pick out a small warm coat from the pile of donated ones. The mother moved on to pick out a Christmas present for her daughter. It would be the only thing that would be under the tree this year. The college girl watched as the mother then took the little girl to get her face painted and to pick out a brand new book to take home. The little girl couldn’t stop smiling.
She was happy.
After a few hours, the college girl walked out of the building with a fellow volunteer. The college girl said she should hurry back to her dorm to study for her finals. The volunteer, a foster mother, said she should hurry back home to the baby she was currently taking care of. “She’s a sweet baby who’s had a tough life already,” the woman told the college girl. “This little baby’s dad got angry and threw her against the wall. Right now her head is held together with staples.”
The woman smiled and waved as she walked away.
When I talked to the college girl I expected crying, I expected sad.
But her voice was calm.
I worried out loud.
She assured me she was fine.
I questioned that.
She told me about her day.
She told me her problems didn’t seem so big anymore.
When we said our prayers that night we prayed that our Millie was in a good place. But we also prayed for that little girl and that little baby.
We were grateful.
Check This Out!
I highly recommend the book, The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. Tons of history, drama and inspiration ensure you won't put it down. It's being made into a movie-that should tell you how good it is.